Had a great discussion with my friend Anand today. In college he said that if we could just get people to think about sustainability, we’d all be in a much better place. I’m happy to report that “sustainability” & “green” is now at least in everyone’s vocabulary.
One thing I find fascinating, is that it can still be a good thing when business pays lip service to green.
Suppose McDonald’s makes some claim that they’ve gone green by developing frying oil in a new way. Even if they made it up, just to ‘ride the wave’, they’ve spent money making people aware of green, and they’ve implicitly declared “This is something we’re willing to compete on”.
So when Burger King comes along and enters the public debate, by showing how they are more green, and more relevant, the trend in the long run will be towards being truly more green. (Gotta love that invisible hand thing)
You might call it fake-it-till-you-make-it, and that’s fine. You’ll just be green with envy while I’m eating my green-fries with my green-burger, that I’ll wash down with my green-coke. Mmmhmm…
If you have a blog, and a bad customer service experience, you have the ingredients for remuneration: blog about it. The net has seen this strategy work over and over, and I think it’s a generally a good thing: it calls attention to the importance of customer service, and sharpens companies that already excel at it.
There is a dark side, and my mother discovered it.
Last week, she opened up a bad can of Bumble Bee tuna-fish. She wrote to customer service, and received a coupon for 6 free cans; that’s one giant casserole! To their credit, Bumble Bee may have been doing this for years, and it didn’t take a highly public blog article for them to correct a small mistake.
Bizarrely, my mother said the lesson was: "Whine and be Rewarded".
As the Internet becomes more social, and online recommendation gains importance, when do we cross that thin line from shining light on consumer injustice, to whining for reward from those with deeper pockets?
It’d be odd to ask the Internet culture to ‘grow up’, so the choice is going to fall with the people selling the ‘stuff’. At some point, they’ll have to be able to discern beggar from customer service opportunity. You can’t please everyone, so how do you ‘do the right thing’ without encouraging whining?
PS: I need an opinion. If I write here about how I have not received my “Guaranteed Christmas Delivery” order from BustedTees, is that whining or creating a customer service opportunity? My friends would really like their Christmas gifts…
Coming up with a cool, unregistered domain name can be as frustrating as playing whack-a-mole on the moon, and you forget to bring the mole (and even if you had remembered, moles are extinct. And their closest genetic relatives are even more bizarre looking).
Worry no more! At our super-secret-startup-world-headquarters, we invented (or stumbled on) a solution…
Google Captcha codes make great domain names.
Here’s how it works:
Logout of Gmail
Begin signing up for a new Gmail account
Keep failing the captcha test
Record cool captchas
Here are some gems it produced for me yesterday:
Amazingly, 50% of these were available for immediate purchase.
Well, that number has changed because I’m now the proud owner of sperfect.com
I am of the opinion that you only ever own 2 things in this world: Your thoughts and your behavior.
You need both to live, but both govern each other in a way that’s sometimes too subtle to realize. It’s like the check and balance system of the mind and body.
If you find your thoughts clouded, try changing your behavior. Your thoughts may follow. If you find your behavior consistently at odds (in a dangerous way) with the reality around you, try a different perspective. Your behavior may follow.
Here’s an exercise to try: If you’re in your car today, stop for every pedestrian you see waiting at a crosswalk and watch them. It’ll help you figure out a way to get cars to stop for you when you’re a pedestrian.
Listened to the “Musical Language” episode of the awesome Radio Lab WNYC podcast.
The second section of the episode covers Igor Stravinsky's public premiere of the highly dissonant “Rite of Spring”; It caused a riot. I think it'd be more accurate to say it caused a mosh-pit.
"If Stravinsky’s stated intention was "to send them all to hell", then he may have rated the 1913 première of Le sacre du printemps as a success: it is among the most famous classical music riots” - Wikipedia
Apparently, when the brain hears sounds that are so foreign, it induces something approaching schizophrenia in the listener. Only after we are more acclimated to the new sounds, can we hear them for what they really are, and uncover the melodies.
This explains the progressive-tech-metal that my brother Dean (lead guitarist of Iridescent Exposure) writes & plays for energetic audiences. It has been slowly growing on me, and now it’s been put into new light: he’s pushing my ear & brain in the grand tradition of moving art and culture forward by challenging people and their stubborn neurons.
I think it is in part because of that comfort, the rest due to momentum, culture, and the business processes in place. Pre-Internet, these companies very finely tuned everything they did around that single mechanic, because it was so well known and easy to measure. That in turn shaped their culture, and now it shapes every decision & ‘new venture’ that comes out of them, no matter the medium.
The risk of having a successful business, without having a strong culture around a mission, is that you trap yourself trying to replicate & maintain the first success.
Google is an awesome example of #1. Tumblr is a fantastic example of #2.
Tumblr does very little that is ‘new’, and everything it does was already possible (and presumably still easy to replicate). However, it pulls together familiar things in such a controlled way, that a culture has sprung up around it that is NOT easy for a would-be clone to duplicate.
The point is, if you have an idea for a startup, a website, or a different way of doing things, it doesn’t have to be complicated, radical, or “mind blowing”.
It can be simple if it’s well-executed and creates new, interesting ways for people to interact.
Had an interesting weekend and I’m reminded of how different the future is going to be (or already is?)
We’ve all set around with our friends and asked “You know that actor, who was in that movie? What’s his name?” Each person struggles to remember seeing who can come up first wit the answer.
Our group of mobile-internet-enabled friends, however, takes a deep breath, and somebody pulls up IMDB.com to provide the answer, because it isthere. We’re trying to train ourselves for the always-connected future, and man is it hard.
What does it mean for conversation when all factual questions are answered by your cellphone politely interrupting with the answer?
I hate doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning, because I feel it somehow pulls me away from where I can really impact society: with my mind, not my self-sustaining labor. (I understand some people find it cathartic and grounding, it’s just not for me!) Does always having the internet available speed up the conversation by providing the answers for factual questions, freeing us to think about things that don’t yet have answers?
Or will it remove our curiosity?
I’m betting it frees us up to think about “next things”, though I think I can at least appreciate people’s fear of the coming change.
I’m opposed to the concept of the email inbox, which is like a personal to-do list than anyone can add to. I find it extremely imposing and it creates a lot of anxiety for me. We have to think of alternatives.
A problem worth solving, for a few reasons. When I think about where the web is heading, the “Individual Revolution”, it reminds me of something like (but not exactly) long-tail dynamics.
Here we have Jakob Lodwick who is, to me, something of a minor celebrity (I mean this in a very positive way). As tools like Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo, Facebook, etc, allow someone to build up a web presence, the web makes it very easy to find and follow them, and feel at least somewhat in touch with their projected lives (somewhat idealized, somewhat staccato, one-way intimacy(tm))
Finding & following these ‘new celebrities’ is only interesting to me under the premise that I could have a conversation with them if the need arises. You can’t really imagine following your favorite Hollywood actor, or sports star and getting a non-form response, but you can for your internet heros.
Unfortunately, this breaks down incredibly quickly. I like to practice “inbox-zero” and can’t bring myself to remove an email until I’ve dealt with it meaningfully. If someone sends me a social email, or something very open ended, it illicits some time and thought from me. This isn’t a problem right now, but clearly it can’t scale.
Another (tm) phrase of mine, is that the best Internet technologies are like super powers. IM / Email / Twitter are a bit like telepathy, Facebook is like a social “spidey-sense.” Google maps is like scrying. It’s hard to walk down the street with the iPhone and NOT feel like some sort of super-bad-ass XMan.
So what’s the super power that is going to allow us to truly enjoy the long-tail of celebrity? Or even just the long-tail of interesting people. The new social Internet is only enjoyable if it remains…. social.
Jace:i still haven't really figured out whether I understand what's going on at tumblr. the reblogging thing might be lost on me
Me:its like tumblr specific commenting, think of it that way.
Jace:is that it? is it too simple?
Me:well no, there's some genius in it. so by default, you can't comment on tumblr blogs, but you effectively can if you have your own tumblog (by reblogging, and adding your 2-cents)
Me:now, for anyone else following the original person they can see your 'comments' (by following who reposted). But again, even that feature is only available to people inside the tumblr community.
Me:the 'bonus' though, is that by following the comments, you can discover new blogs since each commentor MUST have a blog to comment. So it is a discovery mechanism (again, keeping you coraled in tumblr) and a way to ensure comments are by people committed to sharing blog posts, not by random idiots who leave flame droppings.
Jace:yeah, I can appreciate the inclusive, secure aspect of that. not sure I'm riproaring to try and insert myself into a preexisting closedish community though.
Me:I guess because it's a self-contained culture and if you don't consider open-commenting critical to you, your blogs are still effectively public.
Jace:yeah. actually, I don't even need commmenting on my "blog" I'm much less interested in reposting links and such from other blogs, but rather in creating a winding narrative of human presence on the web.
The tales of Facebook’s “death” are greatly exaggerated.
Do I believe they made a costly mistake with the default behaviour of Beacon? Yup.
Did they handle the tech-world shit-storm as best they could? Nope.
Are they going away as a result? F**K no.
I logged on today. My friend is getting engaged, some other friend is throwing a party. A third friend is back in town from travelling, someone is attending a conference, someone else posted a picture of me, and the social network hums along just fine.
I think Facebook could’ve more slowly & carefully extracted their value in way that didn’t cause the cacophony it has, but all the shouting feels contained in some tin chamber hall where only the upset go to listen. Amongst Facebook users, I just happen to be within earshot of the vocal minority.
So Bobby Andresen, of PixelImplosion was kind enough to convince me to start twitterring. I can feel it’s addictive pull, but I’m most interested in exploring it to see how its culture & form shape the communications.
That is, I’m no stranger to reaching out randomly via commenting in forums, Facebook messages to ‘strangers’. I’ve developed a sense of what those activities can and can’t accomplish. (For instance, being convinced to use Twitter!)
Twitter is a different beast. In twelve hours of use it’s sparked a few conversations for me. We’ll see what it does once I build up critical ‘mass’ of twittering contacts, and get a better feel for the etiquette.
As soon as I figure out how, I’ll adjust my tumblr theme to incorporate my status.